Burnt by the Sun 02: The Citadel (2011)


Introduction

Burnt by the Sun 2: The Citadel is a 2011 Russian language film directed by Nikita Mikhalkov, released on 05 May 2011. It is a sequel to the films Burnt by the Sun (1994) and Burnt by the Sun 02: Exodus (2010).

Outline

The film takes place in 1943 during the height of the Great Patriotic War.

Mitya (Oleg Menshikov) finds Kotov (Nikita Mikhalkov) in the ranks of the penalty battalion, standing at the walls of an impregnable Citadel. Drunken general Melezhko orders the penal servicemen to attack the fortress, though this means certain death. Noticing Mitya and not wanting to meet him, Kotov, without waiting for the team, raises the penalty boxers to attack. Mitya is forced to undergo heavy fire from the enemy, since the trenches are not allowed to return to the ZAG, firing on the back stairs. Mitya and Kotov remain unscathed. After the battle, taking Kotov to the rear, Mitty tells him everything that he did and gives him a gun. However, Kotov does not kill Mitya. Mitya reports that Kotov was rehabilitated and awarded the rank of Lieutenant-General.

Nadia, by that time shell-shocked, serves in the medical unit. The truck with the wounded and pregnant woman in which she rides falls under the bombardment of German aviation. Despite the bomb, which fell two meters from the truck, she remains unscathed. The wounded give birth and call the child (whose father is a German) by Joseph Vicariousness, in honour of Stalin.

Mitya and Kotov come to the dacha where the commander once lived with his family (the house that appears in Burnt by the Sun). However, no one expected Kotov’s house, since it was believed that he was shot. Marusya (Viktoria Tolstoganova) is raising a child from Kirik (Vladimir Ilyin). The arrival of Kotov violates the peace of the household, and the next day, the whole family decides to leave secretly. The general overtakes them at the station, but lets them go, as he begs Marusya about it.

Later, Stalin orders Kotov to carry out a complicated and almost doomed operation: to lead 15,000 civil men into a frontal attack on the Citadel, who, for various reasons, avoided participation in hostilities, so that the defenders would spend ammunition on it, a storm of the Citadel with low losses among soldiers. If successful, Stalin promises to give Kotov the army command.

Meanwhile, Mitya is arrested and accused of espionage and preparing an assassination attempt on Stalin. He is relieved to sign the protocols for a death sentence, as he has long awaited death. Those who arrived in civil trenches are given shanks from shovels.

Kotov must give the order for the offensive, descends into the trenches and slowly goes to the Citadel. The fall of the corpse of a German soldier accidentally causes a fire in the citadel, causing it to explode. In the last scene, Kotov is a Hero of the Soviet Union and rides with Nadia on a tank at the head of a tank column of Soviet troops heading for Berlin.

Cast

  • Nikita Mikhalkov as Col. Sergei Petrovich Kotov.
  • Oleg Menshikov as Mitya.
  • Dmitri Dyuzhev as Vanya.
  • Vladimir Ilyin as Kirik.
  • Yevgeny Mironov as Izyumov.
  • Nadezhda Mikhalkova as Nadya.
  • Andrey Merzlikin as Nikolaj.
  • Andrey Panin as Kravets.
  • Sergei Makovetsky as Lunin.
  • Valeri Zolotukhin as chief foreman Pindurin, commander of the barge.
  • Sergei Garmash as father Alexander (credited as legless sergeant on the barge).
  • Maria Shukshina as Zinaida Vasilyevna.
  • Aleksandr Adabashyan as Igor, party functionary.
  • Aleksei Petrenko as elderly lieutenant-accountant.
  • Artur Smolyaninov as Yurok.
  • Yevgeny Stychkin as senior lieutenant-sapper who committed a penalty.
  • Maksim Sukhanov as Stalin.
  • Alexey Buldakov as Semyon Budyonny.
  • Valentin Gaft as Pimen, Jewish inmate.
  • Rimma Markova as sanitarium worker.
  • Daniil Spivakovsky as commander of the crossing.
  • Igor Shmakov as cadet Gosha.
  • Viktoriya Tolstoganova as Marusia.
  • Angelina Mirimskaya as Lyuba.
  • Tagir Rakhimov as cameo.

Release

The film received mostly negative reviews from both Russian and western critics. It was panned for historical inaccuracies, retconning, bad acting and other failures. It was criticised for abruptly breaking with the continuity of the first film, including mysteriously resurrecting characters presumed dead and changing their ages. For example, according to the first film, Nadia would have been 11 in 1941, but she is portrayed as an adult.

Critics panned many provocative episodes, such as a German pilot defecating on a Soviet ship, or Kotov’s dipping Stalin into a cake. The Russian media reviews were especially hostile to the film, because of its revisionist portrayal of Soviet army and Soviet leaders.

Trivia

  • Burnt by the Sun 2 had the largest production budget ever seen in Russian cinema ($55m), but it turned out to be Russia’s biggest box office flop, and received negative reviews from critics both in Russia and abroad.
  • The film was screened at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival and was allowed to compete for awards, although it had premiered before the festival.
  • At Cannes it received a standing ovation, but no awards.
  • In September 2011, the Russian Film Committee selected Burnt by the Sun 2: Citadel as the Russian nominee for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
    • This move was followed with protests and disagreement from many filmmakers, including another Academy Awards recipient Vladimir Menshov and Mikhalkov’s brother, director Andrey Konchalovsky.
    • The film was not included in the Oscar’s short list.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Nikita Mikhalkov.
  • Producer(s):
    • Aleksey Balashov … executive producer.
    • Sergei Gurevich … executive producer.
    • Aleksey Karpushin … line producer.
    • Nikita Mikhalkov … general producer.
    • Aleksandr Utkin … line producer.
    • Leonid Vereshchagin … producer.
    • Yekaterina Yakovleva … line producer.
  • Writer(s):
    • Nikita Mikhalkov.
    • Vladimir Moiseenko.
    • Aleksandr Novototskiy-Vlasov.
    • Gleb Panfilov.
  • Music: Eduard Artemyev.
  • Cinematography: Vladislav Opelyants.
  • Editor(s): Svetolik Zajc.
  • Production: Three T Productions.
  • Distributor(s): Central Partnership.
  • Release Date: 22 April 2011.
  • Running time: 157 minutes.
  • Rating: 15.
  • Country: Russia.
  • Language: Russian.

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